Maternity Leave Monotony
I’ve just popped you down for your second nap of the day. We’ve had a lovely day together so far with music and dancing and me pretending to eat broccoli in the hopes of tricking you into trying it. It hasn’t worked of course, you could smell the ham sandwich I had hiding behind your high chair. You’re definitely my kid.
We have settled home from sleep school and your naps offer me time to write, watch Lindsay Lohan ruin Mykonos one episode at a time and time to cook up veggie purees that you refuse to eat. You are the best mate I could imagine and when you smile at me, I know my life has absolute purpose. I hate myself for saying this out loud Rosie, but I’m also really lonely and often find myself day dreaming about what else there is out there for me after maternity leave.
My old life as a primary school teacher had me surrounded by 26 little humans all day, my voice and expertise were valued by other adults and I was in charge of a busy classroom. I attended meetings where my opinion created change, I went to the toilet whenever I pleased and sometimes… when I got really crazy… I had an adult conversation for over 2 minutes that didn’t involve me talking about your poop. I know, I was wild.
The first 4 weeks of maternity leave before you arrived were a flurry of errands, movies, dinner dates, hair appointments and a limbo-esque existence between my old life as a teacher and social butterfly and my impending life as your Mumma. I was counting down the minutes until you arrived.
Now that you’re 6 months old I know the things you love to do (pretending to walk and listening to your Dad play the guitar) and I know the things you hate (being still and your mums cooking). We go for walks, we listen to music and you follow me around the house while channeling my inner Marie Kondo . I’m watching you change and grow every single day and it truly is such a beautiful existence with you sweet Rosie. As much as I dry retch when I hear the word, I really am ‘blessed’ to have you as my daughter and I know how outrageously lucky I am that in Australia we get such fantastic leave.
So why am I wondering if this is it? Why am I sitting here wondering if this is enough? Eat, play, sleep repeat. Day in and day out.
When you’re a new Mum, you’re told it’s normal for your day to be utterly consumed by your baby. You want to do everything humanly possible to make their lives happy. Even when you’re asleep Rosie, I find myself planning your next play, your next meal, your next sleep and thanks to some bowel movement enhancing drops, even your next poop. Every thought belongs to you and I can’t help but wonder when some of my thoughts will become my own again.
I’m coming to think that it’s unrealistic to be expected to enjoy something 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s an unfair amount of pressure to enjoy every moment, every day. It’s not possible.
I sat down last night while you were sleeping sweet girl and wrote down all of the things I want for my own future. It was an utterly selfish 20 minutes of self-reflection, trying to articulate what will make me happy when I am ready to re-enter the land of the living.
I want to feel fulfilled
I want to contribute to our finances
I want to spend quality time with Rosie
I want to travel
I want to spend quality time alone
I want to challenge my brain
I want to write
I want to share my birth and baby experience with others
I want to own my own business
I want to create and be covered in colour from head to toe
I want every day to be a little bit different
I want to be there for every major moment as Rosie grows up
I want Rosie to be proud of me
Writing all of those things down on paper made me burst into tears. I cried because I have so many hopes and dreams for you and I Rosie… and I cried because I felt like a horrible, unappreciative Mum for wanting things for myself.
But there is something in my gut telling me that it’s okay that I daydream about a life outside of this house. That I plan a life for myself outside of maternity leave that is full of challenge, passion and a different purpose. If I’m ever away from you Rosie, I want it to be for a bloody great reason.
If I work towards becoming a person that I am proud of, if I create a version of myself that is passionate and fulfilled as a woman, not just your mother, won’t I be leading by example? I want to show you what a rewarding life looks like Rosie so when you become a Mum (if you want to be one) you will know how important it is to cherish yourself as a woman too.
I have to remind myself that whilst my old life might feel like a distant memory right now, what I have in front of me is pretty incredible. I will hold you tight, embrace the monotonous moments, keep daydreaming and set plans in motion to create a life for both of us that we LOVE.
My life didn’t end when I became your Mum Rosie girl, it only just got started and the best is yet to come.
All my love,
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